It all started as a Dream..
In November 2012 I wrote the first draft of the plan. UNIA would be groundbreaking. UNIA would be our first fully interactive and immersive adventure with 1st person shooter elements. UNIA would be delivered in stages pushing the limitations of Second Life and showing game designers what is possible to do in this virtual world.
In January 2015 I was wondering if I had tried to bite off more than one could chew.
The project that was supposed to be the biggest and the best of MadPea ever, went through so many setbacks that there were times I seriously thought of just quitting. I had to dig deep within myself to find the strenght to carry on and keep pushing forward.
Our first setback was when our sponsor left Second Life. Having a land sponsor was the only reason I thought this project could be possible in the first place. We were suddenly left to pay 740USD/monthly for the islands during the development phase. If you do the maths, this game has already become so expensive that there is no way we could ever get the money invested in it back. Thinking of the amount of man hours and money spent on UNIA makes me very uneasy at times.
Yet - I have not given up.
At early stages we allowed bloggers and photographers in to the islands to show people what we were doing. I was not prepared for the insane buzz it brought. Interviews, interest from real life publishers and the amount of people who wanted to come in and help out. After this experience I'm not keen on taking anyone in to any project to 'help out'. We work on a level that requires talented and dedicated people who can take responsibility of their work, be able to respect deadlines and respect their team members.
Suddenly the dynamics within the team went catastrophic. We had a massive team with many new people who were not prepared to actually work. Sure the visibility we get is nice, but we have to earn that, just like everyone else. We are working harder than many even realize. So people started to drop out.. not finishing their work. It's incredibly exhausting to bring in a new person to the team, explain them your vision, get all the paperwork done (yes we have NDAs, we have documents, we work as professionals here), introduce them to the team, take the time to get to know them personally and try to support them. They are excited, they start the work and you start trusting them and BOOM one moment they say 'I'm sorry, I just don't have the time for this anymore'. That is the nature of Second Life. Losing a member of the team is for me like a break up in a relationship. It hurts. You wonder what did you do wrong? Could there have been something to save it? It simply sucks and it takes a while again to regroup and in most cases - having to redo the work of the quitter. Naming no names during UNIA we have had ELEVEN people who came and left and each time a small part of my dream died.
The biggest setback however was when our lead developer announced in November that he wanted out. I don't blame him, please don't you blame him either. He gave his all. To keep up with the island payments we were forced to do small hunts and events to raise money and it became a tiring vicious circle. When he left I felt so sick that I wanted to give up completely. I needed to get away and think.
How could we get it done?
I stepped back a moment and left our Creative Director and close friend, Harter Fall in charge of the management and Indigo Lucerne in charge of the scripting. I couldn't even look at my dream, my baby, anymore without feeling physically sick. Harter knew the plans and I trusted him on how to manage the team. I needed to get back to the sources of my creativity and think of something else. I knew that we would be set back yet another few months and we had ran out of money.
I thought about all the people who donated to us, all the people who encouraged us, the possibilities of UNIA and the dream that I had, and realized that I still had a strong, dedicated and determined core team that would would never give up with me and still believed in this project. We have had amazing artists creating scenes for UNIA. There are exclusive works from Bryn Oh, Rebeca Bashly, Fuschia Nightfire and Jaimy Hancroft just to name a few. We have exclusive mo-cap animations ready from Abranimations. We still had a chance, it would just take a little bit longer and I would have to find a way to gather enough funds to keep the islands going.
Instead of thinking events that are an instant income, I had a strong urge to bring out a new game. A shared story that was built with my partner, Axiomatic Clarity. While the majority of the team was working on UNIA, Ax and I focused on creating the island for BURIED. I was thinking that IF it all fails now, then at least I have given it my all. The storyline, the builds and the atmosphere were born from a lot of love, passion and emotions. I believed that our loyal community would appreciate it and support us.
Despite of the creator of the Numbakulla adventure and my former 'idol' Caliandris Pendragon taking the time to write a blog post about BURIED being the MOST BORING GAME IN THE SL UNIVERSE (I'm still waiting for the trophy, Caliandris), BURIED has actually been our most successful game compared to anything that we did in 2014. Within a week we have raised enough money to pay for the UNIA islands one more month. I hope that we will raise enough for two months more.
After getting off the rollercoaster of emotions each launch causes to me, I went back to check on UNIA. The amazing team had made massive progress. According to them we are ready to test it all within TWO MONTHS.
The dream is finally becoming a reality. None of that would be possible without a team that supports each other through thick and thin. I am lucky and proud.
Thank you all for your support with BURIED. Bloggers, photographers and players. Your support means the world to us.
Stay tuned as we will start to promote UNIA soon.. and please, check out the most boring game ever, BURIED.
Director of MadPea Productions
Check out this video of scenes from UNIA with the theme tune
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Amazing production, all hunts are extremely well organized and interesting. Always huge traffic and great response in the community. Buried is the best hunt I seen so far in Second Life! Keep up the great work :)ReplyDelete
Thank you so much to the team for all your hard work. I love Madpea. You do know that your Peas are proud to be part of this group. So glad to hear that Unia will be here soon after all your setbacks.ReplyDelete
omg thank you soooo much for the most boring hunt...pffft ....you ROCK Kiana and the whole team...never ever have i been BORED or disappointed. I started doing your hunts as a part of my need for more stuff, but now i do it for the amazing story and adventure...oh who am i kidding, the prizes are sooo AWESOME too. I could go home and create a mini version of the hunt if i wanted too and bask in it until the next lol....keep up the great work and forget those who dont understand or too lazy to understandReplyDelete
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Wow. I wrote a huge comment and apparently it didnt post. Lovely. Here's take two.ReplyDelete
I am stunned to hear that Unia has been such a trial for you. As an 8 year old performer in SL I understand how you feel. "Real life comes fist" is the rule here and while I agree most of the time, profesional commitments are professional committments no matter what world you are working in. I am always stunned by people that feel this is not the case. Please note that you have my RELIABLE asssistance at your service in whatever capacity I can can support you and here is why:
SL is still struggling to find a supportable economy since gambling was banned so many years ago. Until it finds a way to capture the interest of regular "Joes" with average real lives, SL will continue to struggle. Logins are still half what they once were (I check regularly). Quality adventures like yours are the best chance SL has to bring in these video game playing norms. Increased logins are the only way SL will grow and succeed. I have a vested interest in the success of SL.
Blood Letters and Pulse's Don't Panic are the most successful efforts SL has seen yet ( I just started Buried....not bored yet but I'll keep you posted). Visually stimulating, exciting plotlines and ease of immersion are what sets these quality productions in a whole other class. UNIA is going to take it a step farther. UNIA is not optional.
I recently took a 4 year "burnout break" for the exact same reasons you mentioned. MadPea is one of the reasons I decided to return. There is more to acheive now and you are pointing the way.
Did I mention that have been inworld for 8 years? I am a die hard adventure gamer. I tried Numbskulla. I even dragged in a friend as that makes adventures more fun. It was so boring I never bothered to finish it, and my friend was so turned off he refuses to try anything else like it. I am surprised by that article though. You would think that creator would recognize boring (is the link posted? I would LOVE to read it I need a good laugh). To that I say "Jealous much?"
I think the student has become the master.
Love and rockets -
Thank you all for your wonderful support! <3ReplyDelete
We don't know each other, but I follow your work, and have been a long-time admirer of the experiences you produce. I can empathise, however, with what you've been through. I'm a relative newcomer to the SL entertainment scene, with only two major shows under my belt (Romeo + Juliet and Paradise Lost in Second Life). Both, were huge undertakings, with Paradise Lost often feeling like it was never going to get done. And now, I'm making a movie of it, which I feel in some ways, has been even more difficult. So yeah, I know how this process feels at times like you're going through a difficult childbirth. With that said, all of these things teach us what to do next time... although to be fair, we can rarely prepare for what we've never encountered, and that's exactly the kind of unexpected project-threatening problem that will most likely come up next time! Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the product of you, and your team's efforts! Break a leg and all the best for the launch!
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